Radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has lashed out at the United States during Friday prayers, as U.S. troops traded gunfire with his militiamen in Karbala and Najaf.
Moqtada al-Sadr made his way from Najaf to the main mosque in nearby Kufa surrounded by hundreds of supporters. In his sermon, the firebrand cleric harshly criticized the United States over the abuse of Iraqi detainees at a prison near Baghdad.
U.S. General Mark Kimmitt said three mortars landed near the governor's office in Najaf, which U.S. troops seized Thursday. He said coalition patrols also were attacked and returned fire, killing 12 militiamen.
In the holy city of Karbala, U.S. troops clashed with Sadr militiamen, not far from the cleric's office in that city. Hospital officials said eight militiamen were killed in the fighting. Information for this story is provided by AP and AFP.